Thursday, December 31, 2009

On New Year's Eve....

1999:

-We were all semi-curious about Y2K and if planes would fall out of the sky and we'd revert back to "primitive" times.

-9/11 hadn't yet entered our vernacular.

-I spent the night with my two high school best friends. I got dressed up and wore a tight black shirt that my mom wouldn't have let me wear out of the house, a tight purple skirt, and shoes that were anything but sensible. We spent the night at Kate's house and watched movies and laughed and watched the ball drop.

-We snuck sips of champagne and wine when Mrs. Shine wasn't looking.

-I was a sophomore in high school and the idea of college scared the crap out of me. I never wanted to leave my friends. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.

-I lived 15 minutes from my future husband and had no idea what he looked like or who he was.

-I had never traveled outside the U.S., and had never even crossed the Mississippi River.

-I was anxiously waiting for the spring to come so I could get my driver's license.

Man....in the last ten years, a LOT has changed, and for that I'm so very thankful. Ugh, imagine if I was living at home with my parents still! I'd be very unhappy, of this I am sure. I love being independent and I'd be really unhappy if I still shared a roof with them, much as I love them.

In the last 10 years, I've learned to drive, I got in a bad car accident shortly afterwards, I came down with pneumonia in the middle of July, I met the love of my life, I graduated from high school AND college, and I've moved more times than I can count. I purchased a home, and I'm among a dwindling number of friends and family members who aren't yet mothers.

Ten years ago, had you told me what my life would be like now, I'd have run away in fear. Truth is, I still want to run away in fear! Most days I don't feel like the adult my driver's license tells me I am.

But still, I've got a damn good life. It's not the glamorous life I'd hoped I'd be leading 10 years ago, but it's beyond blessed. I have the most wonderful, caring partner in life (exactly what I was hoping for 10 years ago tonight). He's with me every step of the way. He's too good for me, but sssshhhhh......he hasn't figured that out yet!

I have a wonderful, caring family. We've had our ups and downs, but I was blessed with loving parents and a sister with a heart of gold. I have great in-laws who are so great. They're definitely not the scary ones you hear about so often! I have sisters-in-law and a brother-in-law who are just like regular old siblings to me. We are so blessed to all get along and love one another!

I have a warm, safe home. No matter where I was living, apartment, dorm room, or here, I was always aware that I had a warm place to sleep at night. Some of the kids I teach everyday aren't so lucky. God has always provided this for me, and for that I'm truly thankful.

My husband and I both have good, secure jobs. Today, that's a rarity and a huge blessing. We don't always love our jobs, and I'm hoping for a career change sometime soon, but regardless, employment is such a blessing to have these days.

The last ten years have been incredible for me. I traveled out of the country twice and saw things I never thought I'd see in my lifetime, let alone at 19! I've been to both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. I sang at Disney World in high school. I've peered over the edge of the Grand Canyon and was nearly swept away by a wave in California. I kissed the Blarney Stone. I waved to fish while snorkeling in the Pacific Ocean. I ate spaghetti in Canada and stew in Ireland. I learned sign language. I learned that the classics never die and that literature is meant to be savored. I let go of my inhibitions. I let go of people who weren't good for me and said hello to some women who are my best friends (nearly 10 years after we met)!

I was scared as hell to leave home and begin my four years of college. I never thought that I'd feel more at home in dorm room than I did in my childhood bedroom. I thought my high school friends would be my friends until the day I died. I never dreamed more secure, bonded friendships would replace them. Until 2002 I'd never been to a Steak n' Shake, and I sure as hell never thought I'd learn the menu backwards and forwards. I was scared as hell to leave college and come back home, but for completely different reasons than four years earlier.

I never thought I'd live to see the day when two of my favorite college professors would leave their offices, even temporarily: one to cancer and one to a new degree and career change.

I never thought I'd be in my 20s and considering "mommyhood" as seriously as I do. Hell, there are days when I say, "Screw it" and want to wait until my 30s when I'll be older and more financially secure....and older.

I lost my faith in God, and found it again in a non-denominational church in South Jacksonville. I learned that Christ is more than just a figure in a book and that He's ready to talk to me always. I learned that God has a plan for me and He's going to see it through whether I like it or not. I learned that if I want to make God laugh, I should make carefully laid plans.

I learned a lot about myself through teaching. I found that teaching English wasn't my calling and somehow teaching Computers came a lot closer than I ever expected. I learned that writing is my preferred medium of communication and that when I don't know what to say, a snarky, sarcastic, and/or inappropriate comment will usually do the trick. I learned that I love to make people laugh, and if God's plans and mine were parallel, I'd be on a stage somewhere, improving, acting like a fool, and enjoying the laughter I brought to people.

I've been give a damn good life. God has blessed me in so many ways during the last 10 years and if it was a loan I'd never be able to replace it. My life is drastically different from the way I imagined it'd be ten years ago (save for a man-slave..eerrr...husband, who worships me and loves me more than I could imagine) but I wouldn't change it for anything.

Tonight, I'm wearing purple again (honestly, it's just a coincidence!), and I won't have to sneak sips when Mrs. Shine isn't looking. I'll kiss my husband at midnight and look forward to the next 365-day trip around the sun. I'll plan some more vacations and parties and pester my friends into visiting Chicago (It's really lovely this time of year! You hardly even notice the 10 degree wind chill!) and drink some wine.

I'll look forward to good times, good drinks, good food, and good friends. I'm living in the moment more now than I did back then. I'll pray that the next ten years are just as wonderful as the past ten, and I'll look forward to all the surprises that will come our way, and in ten years I'll sit back and think, "Damn....ten years goes by so fast...."

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